The relationship between a paperboard and the adhesive that holds a package together is a finely tuned interaction where each element relies on the other to do its job well. Both elements are manufactured by experts in their respective fields, and when these experts come together to share knowledge, provide mutual support and innovate, great things can happen.
“The thousands of tons of premium paperboard we produce every day is turned into millions of packages, 70 to 80 percent of which will have some sort of adhesive applied during the converting or filling process,” says Olli Suontausta, Director, Product Development and Projects at Metsä Board. “For both existing paperboards and new grades under development, cooperation with adhesive suppliers is absolutely critical to ensure the high performance of packages made with our products.”
The drive to reduce the weight of packages, speed up converting and filling lines and reduce the amount of adhesive used is increasing all the time. Working together with customers and adhesive suppliers, Metsä Board can react quickly to help them address these ever more challenging demands.
When we work together, great things can happen
“By cooperating right from the start of a project we can ensure the best possible outcome for everyone involved,” says Koen Verplancke, Technical Development Director at Metsä Board. “As well as adhesive producers we collaborate with partners like ink suppliers, varnish suppliers and machinery suppliers, and every time our goal is the same: to ensure that the customer gets high performance from the packaging that is created using our respective products.”
Solving sticky problems together
On packaging production lines, gluing is an artform. Too much adhesive – or adhesive applied in the wrong places or at the wrong temperature – can ruin a carefully designed package, turning premium paperboard into an expensive pile of waste. “Common sights are things like, adhesive being applied from too far away or too close to the board surface or the wrong amount being dispensed from nozzles,” says Olli.
“By bringing together our deep understanding of the physical and chemical properties of our boards with the adhesive suppliers’ intimate knowledge of how their products perform on different substrates and in different application conditions, we can deliver the best possible end result for our customers,” Koen highlights. “The smallest things can make a big difference – adjusting nozzle diameters or application points by a few millimetres, for example, or fine-tuning the adhesive temperature by a few degrees. The know-how we have gained by collaborating with adhesive experts is what allows us to make recommendations to customers that give them confidence in our skills and expertise,” continues Koen.
Partnering with a global leader in adhesives
One example of a fruitful partnership that Metsä Board has established is the company’s collaboration with Henkel, a leading global adhesives solutions provider. “We have provided training for Henkel, as for our other adhesives suppliers too, on topics such as board properties, fibre and sustainability – and in turn our personnel have been able to deepen their knowledge about adhesives and how the different types perform in different temperatures and on different substrates,” Olli continues.
“This collaboration has enhanced our internal competencies regarding adhesive properties and performance, meaning we are better equipped to address customers’ immediate needs and help them solve challenges. From the point of view of new packaging innovations, we can profit from each other’s world-class R&D and testing capabilities to develop even better solutions in the future,” Olli concludes.
“The collaboration between Metsä Board and Henkel promises to unlock exciting opportunities. This is not only advantageous for our respective companies but also for our customers - many of whom we share. By working together closely with partners throughout the value chain we can provide customers with deeper, more comprehensive expertise that enables ever-greater innovation,” says Marcel Hübenthal, Head of Sales Europe Consumer Goods Adhesives, Henkel.
“Drawing on Metsä’s experience with paperboard and Henkel’s adhesive technology, our synergy of expertise and experience is already enabling us to jointly develop new technologies and provide our customers with dependably high performing solutions.”